Dallas Observer lists us! “Top Ten Places to Shop for Locally Made Gifts (that Don’t Suck)”


The Dallas Observer has included us in the their Top Ten Places to Shop for Local in Dallas!  Wow!  We’re so honored.  Check it out below.  And come see us this soon.  East Dallas doth rocketh, tis true!


10 Places to Shop for Locally Made Gifts That Don’t Suck

10 Places to Shop for Locally Made Gifts That Don’t Suck (2)


If you haven’t already started your holiday shopping, you’re going to want to get on that pronto. December 25 will be upon us before you know it, and unless you’ve decided to forgo the exchange of material possessions on the holiday as some kind of protest of capitalism, you’d better get your act together. Otherwise, you’re going to end up at Wal-Mart at midnight on December 24, scrambling to find something, anything, for your picky girlfriend.

Fortunately, you don’t even have to head to the mall or big-box stores to find awesome gifts that won’t result in massive credit card debt. Instead of skipping gift-giving altogether as a middle finger to materialism, support a few local businesses who could definitely use your cash. These 10 spots are a good place to start.

5331 E. Mockingbird Lane
Art is a pricey gift that makes someone feel special, like you actually surveyed their interests and picked a thoughtful gift instead of grabbing the first thing on the shelf at Target. At Atama, though, you can find one-of-a-kind pieces at seriously budget-friendly prices. Plus, who doesn’t love artsy toys that also happen to be adorable and look great on an office bookshelf? A stroll through the shop’s art gallery will also provide some much-needed zen during the holiday madness.

The Dallas Farmers Market
1010 S. Pearl Expressway

Thanks to all the renovations, the Dallas Farmers Market is home to more crafters and purveyors of non-edible things than actual farmers. Consider it more of a bazaar with locally made gifts and the occasional snack. Here, you’ll find all-natural bath and body products, terrariums filled with succulents and air plants, even custom-made superhero capes for a special kid in your life. Or, you know, yourself.

Epiphany Boutique
412 N. Bishop Ave.

This quaint shop in the Bishop Arts District is packed with locally made baubles and accessories, and you’re going to want to buy each and every one of them. Pieces from Dallas’ own Sonya Renee, Costilla Creek Jewelers and more are all insanely high quality and reasonably priced. Also look for locally designed T-shirts, candles and other goodies.

1909 Greenville Ave.
If you live in Dallas, you inevitably know two people — one who LOVES the Big D, and another who entirely loathes living in North Texas. Find a snarky T-shirt for both at Lower Greenville’s Bullzerk. You can find tongue-in-cheek takes on neighborhood pride, Dallas sports fandom, and even a T-shirt that says “Dallas Fancy As Fuck,” which is not something any fancy-ass Dallasite needs in her closet.

10 Places to Shop for Locally Made Gifts That Don’t Suck

We Are 1976

We Are 1976
313 N. Bishop Ave.

In addition to a host of well-curated oddities, We Are 1976’s in-house letterpress shop is a great place to find the perfect holiday cards, stationery and unique art prints. If you’re looking for a particularly special gift, you can have the shop custom-make something for the lucky recipient. Also consider gifting your artsy friend an experience at one of We Are 1976’s hands-on workshops. Past workshops include how to make herbal “good vibes” bundles and aquarium-scaping.

Makers Connect
10242 E. Northwest Highway

This art market on Northwest Highway is a one-stop shop for locally made goods. You can find everything you’ll need for everyone on your list here, including homemade pens, steampunk jewelry, hand-printed tea towels and locally poured candles. Plus, you get the bonus of directly supporting local artisans, who sell their wares on consignment at Makers Connect.

Dallas Pin Up
2928 Main St., No. 102

If you or someone you know is into the 1940s, Bettie Page aesthetic, the only gifts you’ll need are at Dallas Pin Up. This entirely woman-owned co-op features 13 local vendors making and selling everything from slinky lingerie to jewelry made with repurposed antiques. If you’ve got a nerdy friend into burlesque, vendor Rara Avis specializes in hard-to-find books and cards related to vintage burlesque and memorabilia from the golden age of Hollywood.

Make + Made
2144 Irving Blvd.

In addition to art classes and workshops, Make + Made features an impressive collection of locally made goods. Handbags handmade by local crafters are a particular favorite with regulars, as are the inexpensive classes and workshops on everything DIY that are perfect for your friend who just can’t stay off Pinterest.

The Gypsy Wagon
2928 N. Henderson Ave.

You may have to poke around a bit, but The Gypsy Wagon generally has a good selection of locally made jewelry and accessories that is definitely worth perusing for your picky Mom. Even if you don’t end up purchasing something (like the perfect holiday dress … for yourself) that was made right here in Dallas, you’re still supporting a local business and that’s what counts.

Kendra Scott
3699 McKinney Ave., Suite C-305

Okay, so she’s totally gone global, but Kendra Scott is a Dallas girl. Her insanely popular earrings can be found on the earlobes of just about every young woman in Dallas, particularly those who live in Uptown or attend SMU. If you know a particularly fashion-conscious woman who could use a pair of sparkly dangle earrings, Kendra Scott’s West Village boutique is the perfect stop.

This Weekend is UBER FESTIVUS!


Happy Festivus, ya’ll!

festive trees

This Saturday December 5, we’re welcoming Jane Corley and Marcy Stollon here at Makers Connect for an in-house trunk show.  Meanwhile across east Dallas, there are going to be more artists showing under our banner at the GOOD LOCAL MARKETS! Holy Craft Choices! Wherever you go, there is beauty!

Who is at Good Local this week?  Bob Hamilton (upcycled retro lamps): Peggy Schmidt (sophisticated and biker-inspired jewelry), Madison Dolph (pretty, chic youthful jewelry) and Denise Daniels Royal (Crocheted scarves, necklaces, and more)

Beads Galore this Saturday! Tomorrow, 11/14


Don’t miss this all-day event at Makers Connect.  Beads, findings, and more will be on offer at half of wholesale by national jewelry designer Diane Yang.  She’s bringing it all over to our store and we’re offering it to you. She will be on hand taking checks, cash, and charges of $20.00 or over.  Please bring a crafty friend!

A small sampling of the beads:

diane y beads

Diane’s beautiful jewelry:

yangdiane yang earringsdiane yang necks

Fall is Fair Season! Good Local, One90 Meat Grand Opening, etc!


steve and the shirts    three musketeers

So many fun things are packed into the short months of pure awesome we get in Dallas:  so from October through December, we’re all on overdrive, blowing and going to beat the band!

For instance, this past weekend was fabulous.  Our neighbors at One90 Meats next door, the trio we’ve come to know as the Three Musketeers of Meat; Kyle, Herman, and Adam – plus their amazing families, friends and employees, hosted a parking lot party to end all others.  In addition to 800 slider sandwiches they gave away gratis, plus free beer from Oak Highland Brewery, they brought in a face painter, photo booth, gaming station, a fab DJ who at one point brought over her sweet piglet, Hamlet, on a leash for us all to pet and enjoy… and then inexplicably, a clown showed up at some point during the proceedings.  (he later informed us, using expletives not in common use by old school clowns, that a chair he was using “was broke $@4&*@!”

Meanwhile, we set up a tent in the lot and blew out t-shirts by Local Notions, plus koozies and a number of 190 tank tops… leaving the door of the store open to the hoards of young and old who wandered in.  It was insane.  In a good way.

one90 weird photo

And then the previous day, we sent the first two artists into the breach at our MC tent at Good Local Market!   Mike Malone (silver, copper and brass jewelry for men and women) and Kate Roberts of RetroArt (tile coasters) did a super job of representing both themselves and us.  Thank you, guys!

goodlocal set up one

Clearly I need to get better at taking photos – but in our defense, we hadn’t had to get up that early in the morning in a LONG time!

And now, we’re experimenting with a new form of communication – video!  We want you to get to know us, our employees, and mostly, our vendors.  So check back often to see who is next in our video series, Tales from the Velvet Chair!


mom photo

Motto of the story?  Sometime “sometimes bologna just happens!”  Thanks mom.  I always said she was one wise duck.

Vendor Spotlight: Jane Corley


I think it’s high time we shine the spotlight on those for whom the store would simply not exist; the vendors!  Every so often we’ll be featuring a new vendor, old vendor, or maybe even some wonderful customers and employees!  Check out Jane’s wonderful bio piece, below:  Then come see the neat stuff she makes!_________________________________________________________________

Jane Corley has been a gas station attendant, waitress, newspaper reporter, college professor, author, wife/mom, and attorney, little of which prepared her for a life in the arts, which is precisely why she enjoys such escapades.  Her visual arts training started in high school and college when she was engrossed in large-format photography, prior to completion of her bachelor’s degree in journalism.  She has continued to tack back to creative pursuits in an effort to keep sane while making a living in this big, expensive world.
Jane corley pic
Jane focuses on the sublime and whimsical in collage work using ephemera, found objects, dominoes, postage stamps, comic book images and dialogue balloons, along with the occasional Catholic saint image or medal.  Her work is often irreverent and even goofy, as she tries to create work to inspire others to color outside the lines.
four pics jane
These collages were created using what I call “found and family ephemera.”  Throughout the course of living more than a half century, having parents who almost doubled that, and sharing with them a strong tendency toward pack-rat-ism, I have kept or inherited numerous documents that by themselves don’t have much import.  Examples include a souvenir pamphlet from my mom’s pre-marriage voyage to Europe aboard the Queen Mary, the letter from the station master in Chicago giving her the itinerary of her train trip to New York that 1949 season, stamps from my dad’s collection the appraiser says aren’t worth anything but which I find lovely, extra parts from computer rebuilds my husband was going to pitch, copies of letters from grandparents and great aunts from long ago before long-distance phone calls when folks wrote to chew the fat, and the occasional leaf or feather found along the way.  A friend asked how I can part with such things; my response is that by putting these items together in collage form I give them wings to remind others of times gone by, when keeping a box full of papers and things like these was just an everyday thing.

Makers Connect's photo.Makers Connect's photo.


Trending Now



How do you feel about this word?

Do you love them, hate them, or just accept them… like inevitable wads of chewing gum on the sidewalk?

Are there any going on right now that excite you?  Are there a few that really annoy you?

trend crystal purple trend facets

Trend #1     Crystals / Crystalline Forms / Facetted things

trend facet box trend facet diamond

Love this trend – in fact, it’s been a ‘trend’ for me for like, ever….. so when this started entering the zeitgeist in all the possible forms… from illustration to glass worked boxes, and ceramics to the use of naturally occurring crystals in jewelry… I was thrilled.  What’s not to like about facets?  They serve to reflect light in beautiful and random ways.   Crystals are described by their natural molecular roadmaps…. ergo, their beauty is quite literally manifest from the inside out.

Etsy is still one of our favorite sources for current trends in the design world, despite the many negatives surrounding it’s cross-over into a corporate entity. They have several weekly eblasts that illuminate trends that the powers that be at Etsy Central have seen a lot of.

There are also many many other sources.  A few of our favorite blogs and shops:Jonathan Adler, Houzz.com, NannyInez.com, Bezar.com, Takeheart.com

trend facets cup

Stay tuned for more trends….

Happy Fourth of July!


american flag

Our shop will be open today from 11:00 till 2:00 and then we’re closing down to

go hang with buddies and enjoy some R & R.

Yesterday was a great day in the store, with so many friends, vendors, and

would-be new vendors stopping by to shop and say hi!  We were feeling the love.

Stayed tuned for a lot of new classes that kick off this week, and some exciting re-developments in that area.  Also, we cannot wait to share photos of the new designers we have in the shop!

Have a wonderful weekend with your friends and families.

See you soon at Makers….

Steve, Chris and Lela

“Connecting makers with appreciators  along with a healthy dose of air conditioning and a fun atmosphere since April 2014!”

Are You an Independent Consumer?


shop small

That is great – and THANK YOU!

We’re proud to be a small business in East Dallas.

We also live here and really love this part of town, and we know it to be a special place within our larger city.  Wonderful folks like you often say they you’re pleased we’re here and show interest and desire to support us, but summer is just a slow time for all small businesses.  So we decided to reach out to our fellow mom and pop shops, and do something that will help us all.

We are calling it the *Independents Trail*.  We are literally creating a *trail* of East Dallas businesses on one solid card that will be available for a small fee ($5-$10), with that money going directly to one or more local charities and nonprofits.

All participating businesses will be listed on the card with a space to punch.  The card holder will get a deal of some kind at each of the businesses marked (for example, a certain discount, a freebie, or even a ‘wheel of fortune’ to determine the prize!)  Customers will be able to use the discount only *once* at each business, and are therefore encouraged to go around to all the other locations and sample their wares while enjoying discounts.  The idea is that folks will be motivated to try new places outside the ‘usual stomping grounds!’

We plan to announce this initiative through local all local media.

What we are trying to do is band together, not swim in separate silos… we’re going to prove that East Dallas does things differently because we’re individuals with initiative, drive, and love for each other.  Competition is good for everyone and for the economy at large, but banding together to help each other is even better.

We will be announcing as soon as we know for sure which businesses will be onboard with the ‘Trail.  Stay tuned for info and where to get your cards!

We are HERE:  East Dallas!

east dallas map

New in Store – Great Stuff Dad Will Love


tattered banner

Hey there!  Just a reminder we’re still here – hidden slightly behind all the big trucks full of tools and guys at 190 Meats that are busy working on the space next door (formerly Quesa-d-ya’s). They are bringing their specialty smoked meat products to our hood, and are telling me they are aiming to be open within three weeks!  So you are now the first to know.

As if that’s not enough to make your daddy happy, we have some cool stuff too!  Some of these literally just came to us in the past week, so timing is great.  Come take a look soon.

Makers Connect's photo.

Silver and Copper cuffs – large enough for dad.  Mike Malone

Makers Connect's photo.

One of kind writing implements.  Because dad is definitely nothing if not one of a kind.

Makers Connect's photo.

Tiles and coasters – Save when you buy four or you can mix and match

them individually.  Find his favorite pop icon!

Makers Connect's photo.

Flying Fish (old school fish!) by Traci Hutton.  For the man cave.

Makers Connect's photo.

How manly are steel salt and pepper shakers, or heavy copper bracelets

by TC Hensel?

Makers Connect's photo.

And for the herpetologist/ anthropologist / geologist dad – we offer

the exclusive Jurassic Park 1 Series of terraria with easy-care air

plants.  By Allan Zartman.

Happy Earth Day 2015!


Earth Day 2015

We are super lucky to  be able to share an alarmingly diverse array of creations from our amazing local artists: 

  • Macro Insect Photography by Christopher Whalen
  • Wasp Nests in perpetuity (ceramic) by Lynn Borsics
  • Hypertuffa pots by Truly Unruhly
  • Tiny (and not so tiny) Jurassic Park survivors with plants – by Allan Zartman and Cherry Kelln
  • Organic hand built ceramic pots by Rick Van Dyke

And so much more!  

Come to our outdoor trunk show/ sidewalk sale this weekend to discover more goodies!



Sidewalk Sales start this Saturday!


sidewalk sale pennant

Don’t miss it!  Come on out to check out an extended array of work from four local artisans, set out fair-style on tables in front of our large window.  Watch for the colorful signs and balloons and make that life-threatening left turn!  You’ll be glad you did.

Actually, we’ll be offering all new artists every other Saturday for the next four weeks.  But they will all have an extended body of work (more & different from what they currently are showing in Makers Connect) so make a point to stop by every weekend to see what’s new and cookin’.


I’ve got a crush


alex cuff2

On a couple of amazing jewelry designers.

Anyone that’s ever done anything amazing on this earth has been inspired by someone else.  Nothing comes from a vacuum in the design world.  In fact we are such visual people that we know without a doubt that Pinterest and Instagram were invented just for us.  And we’re pretty stoked about that.

Lately something about this cold weather has frozen the part of my brain that wants to get up and do stuff.  I just want to look, think, and look some more… and allow that delicious feeling of creative lust to grow inside.  I know that just by being exposed to these folks I am gathering fuel for my own future work.  These are my design crushes.  Who are yours?

1.   Julie Cohn who actually lives right here in Dallas.  Her work is influenced by the forms and textures of plants and by a certain Japanese aesthetic. I love that she uses the often under-sung material of bronze.  This nice, heavy metal glows more the more one wears it and has an artisanal appeal, being one of the top choice of casting medium for sculptors lo these many centuries.

cohn set cohn ring

2.  Alexis Bittar – Slightly different approach, and yet there are cross overs.  Alexis started his jewelry career as a young man, selling his cast resin jewelry on the streets of SoHo back in the 90’s.   The signature frosted cuff with added-on elements (or drilled and set in stones, painting in the back, added hinges, etc.) are still methods used in his iconic and gigantic bangle bracelets.

alexis earsalex brac

Tell us about your inspiration here:  https://www.facebook.com/MakersConnectDallas

SNL is turning 40!


Wow, does that make me feel old or what… Now, see, this is some very easy math, because next week (plus a few days) I will turn 50.  That means I was 10 years old when the genius of Jane Curtain, the oiliness of Chevy Chase, and the sprightly coke-induced mania of Steve Martin first began to tickle my youthful cortex with their blend of ironic, slapstick, and expertly rendered “human observation humor” (mostly of immigrant New Yorkers, which I was more able to appreciate later in life when going to school at FIT).

Who could forget Gilda Radner, (never mind!), Lorraine Newman (is it the pizza man?  no, it’s LAND SHARK!) or Dan Ackroid’s disgusting Bass o Matic!  Through the years our dearly demented Lorne Michaels has brought us Adam Sandler, Amy Poehler, Tina freaking Fey,and some amazing hosts, like Justin Timberlake, Paul Simon (yes!), and Alec Baldwin. Again and again… till we thought we’d be sick of them…but nope!

So have fun all you crazy kids!  And just remember, “you’re good enough; you’re smart enough; and gosh darn it, people LIKE YOU!”

SNL pencils


Conscious local making = conscious local living


What kind of towel would you buy if you knew you had less than 3 square feet to store ALL your bathroom toiletries?  Would you give it more thought than if you knew  you had tons of space?  I was thinking about this because of this wonderful piece about a tiny house that’s very attractive and functional.  The owner really had to make a myriad of decisions about every single thing she brought into the house.  So I was thinking, if she has only two bath towels, I bet that she chose the best quality she could afford.  Because there are less of them, they will get more wear and will need to be extra durable, while also being soft!

pendleton blankets

And then I suddenly thought about a conversation I had earlier today with Bruce, a leather worker who was showing me photos of his recent work.  He was telling me how touched he was to hear from one client who had placed a custom order for a carved leather flask.  She was so amazed at the quality of workmanship when she saw it, she ‘tipped’ him about 25% above the agreed to price of $200.  That, he said, was someone who appreciated the truly fine art he was doing.  How often this is the exception to the rule!

At this point, the conversation turned to the general topic of rampant consumerism and its effect on the appreciation (or lack) of handmade art.  We bemoaned the fact that folks so often expect to find similarly handmade items at a ridiculous fraction of value given materials, workmanship and time spent…. available at the local Sams/Wally Mart/outlets stores ad nauseum.  The sad truth is that so often, even if something is in fact handmade and not just molded to look like it, there is often great abuse involved which amounts to nothing less than sanctioned human slave labor.   So what are the options?

One can make the conscious decision to really observe the quality of items purchased.  It’s my belief that the true cost goes down dramatically when we consider that quality often not only outlasts a poorly made product, but it’s a lot more enjoyable to use during that time…and it keeps us from having to venture out and waste precious time searching for replacements.  The wonderful local folks who spend their off hours crafting beautiful items for use in your home…be they pillows, quilts, scarves, hats, sculptures, jewelry, or pie warmers – all really appreciate that they are fulfilling some basic human needs for warmth, adornment, and more….and also that they are creating items with integrity, durability, and the stamina to stand the test of time.   Just like those two towels.

And handmade quality, made in America, is the best bet for my money.







Psychology of Mass


Psychology of Mass (For Vendors and/or fans of Retail Psychology!)

kim colors

First thing off the bat it occurs to me I should clear the air – I am not referring to anything vaguely or even surreptitiously religious here.

Also, I am not sharing these views because anyone said to me, “oh Chris, you’re such a genius of retail.  You are the best window dresser/layout/space designer and overall beautifier we’ve ever seen!  Share with us your tips!”  Nope, definitely not that either.

But having done the “store thing” now for nine months (closer to a year than not!) I am starting to feel like I might be learning a thing or two.  And there are days when I have felt like it might help to share this info with my vendors, and would-be vendors, so that we’re all on the same page when we talk about what we’re doing, which is trying to sell their handmade work.  If you’re not a vendor, don’t take that as a clue to stop reading – there might be something of interest here.  I will get to the point quickly, I swear!

article plates

So here is what I have noticed; when we put items out, there is a definite excitement that starts almost immediately. Even if we are distracted and not paying too much attention, we find that customers are drawn like moths to the lure of the ‘new product’.  Even (and especially) if it’s still on the table in the back, waiting to be entered into inventory and priced, there are those who will want to grab one and buy it.  Maybe it is just Christmas or maybe it’s just that there’s something indescribably cool about being the first to have the ‘new thing’ on the block. Now, this really annoys my mother, who likes to have everything flow properly and get entered before selling – but as for me, I’ll say THANK YOU and how would you like that wrapped?  There’s nothing wrong, as long as we know the pricing that the vendor has decided upon.

patti squirrels   patti cats

But let us say that no one comes in and we get the new stuff on the floor without incident.  What works the best, almost without fail, is to mass the items together in a grouping without any other distracting products from another line.  While this is nothing new maybe, I’ve noticed that some stores like to ‘cutesy’ things  up by mixing one of this and that and one of the other on a shelf hoping that by ‘throwing it all on a wall, something will stick.’ Well, my feeling is that if you believe in something, Act like it!  Putting it all together with nothing to back it up is like going out without makeup.  You’re there, that’s you, take it and love it.  Or don’t.

upcycle babies

So then; that works out great when you have a number of similar but not the SAME items. With our biz, that’s usually what we get – a really interesting mix of a category (like upcycled lamps) that relate to one another but are in no way the same.  SIMILAR is the word we’re using.

What is the magic number though?  Too many and you risk losing the customer in a haze of confusion.  They get soooooo excited and they’ll probably even say so, but then they leave and don’t come back.  They just got overwhelmed.  They need a good number to choose from, but NOT TOO MANY!.  It‘s this magical number that we’re still trying to ascertain.  For now, we’ve decided to test the number 10.  It seems feasible that folks can find what they like but not get crazy. But when we drop below three…something else happens.  A certain non-spoken judgment seems to come into play.  As if they are thinking, ‘how creative is this artist really, if all they have on offer is three?’  Maybe they are musing, ‘well, what if I want that in a larger size or in blue?’  Who knows?!  It’s just impossible to know.  But there is a real truth to it.  Once a category drops below three or four, there is a resistance to purchase, even in customers who have been attracted to the brand in the past.

ozzy finds out something in a book

So, those are my observations. I hope that they enlighten any would-be vendors and maybe even some who are currently vendors…. And for those readers who are customers, I simply say ‘thanks for being a customer! We’ll try to keep the stock levels at a nice, even keel though that might be somewhat akin to sailing a ship of cats to Hawaii and running out of kibble half way.”  It might be a struggle, but we’ll definitely give it a good try.

Happy Holidays, all!

Big hugs, Chris

Do you have Crafty Friends and DIY’er family members?


Perhaps you have some folks on your holiday list who have it all…..or just folks who might enjoy a relaxing new hobby?  Of course, sometimes these things overlap.

Here at Makers Connect we’ve been hard at work creating super fun KITS to help solve this quandary.  We currently have a fabulous Globe Terrarium Kit, complete with quite literally everything anyone will need to create his or her own hanging or seated terrarium – from subgravel, activated charcoal, and soil to mosses, glittery top gravel, and even decorative surprises like crystals and plastic dinosaurs.   Just add a store-bought plant, some creativity, and water….and sit back and enjoy your little miracle!

kit globe ball planted     kit display

But wait, that’s not all!  Are your friends not into plants so much?  What if they are the spa types, who enjoy a good soak in a hot tub (and maybe some kitchen witchery too)?  We’ve set up another groovy kit that includes everything necessary to make Fizzy Balls, from the dry and wet ingredients to the mold and instructions.  All you need is a mixing bowl and spoon.  Oh, and some water.  Pretty simple stuff really.  We are offering amazing fragrances like Balsam Fir, Jasmine, and Texas Cedarwood & Neroli…just for a start.  All kits are $25.00 and come in an attractive cardboard carton with instructions and tools.

kit bath bomb    bath balls.


Christmas Shopping in Style Nov 22…..It’s Patti and Maria’s Trunk Show!


Next Saturday we’re inviting the dynamic duo (who have been friends through the years and across far flung parts of the US) of Patti Haskins and Maria Donaldson, aka Syd Justice jewelry.

We’ll be serving the champagne drinks and the tasty nibbles all day from 11:00 – 5:00.  Make a point to stop by and see what is new – from adorable plush toys for kids and adults (including hilarious stuffed squirrel heads!) and jewelry that’s at once organic and feminine as it is edgy; crafted from bronze, leather, brass, silver, pearls and gemstone beads.

trunk show ad square me and maria

November at Makers …Trunk Shows on the Horizon!


Witness the Wonder of Color!   Trunk show November 8

Linda Nickerson and Susan Morgan bring their mutual sensibilities to their wonderfully colorful works;  Susan in quilting and Linda in glass painted ornaments.

We’ll host them both in house on Saturday, November 8 from 11:00 am till 5:00 pm.

Susan Morgan and Linda Nickerson collage

Susan Morgan (SEM Custom Designs) states that her work is aimed at promoting literacy, starting at the earliest age and in the most comfortable place… in the home.  “When one can associate warmth and love with reading, children will develop a fondness for this very basic life skill that will bring them great joy and success in the years to come.”   Snuggly readers are happy readers!

Linda Nickerson is a painter with a modern bent.  She has found a great way to apply her style to create fun and functional holiday art.  You have to see her ornaments to fully appreciate the play of bright colors that blend *inside* the blown glass balls.
Whimsical and delightful and utterly collectible!

Do Squirrels Sometimes Annoy You?


Do they run in front of your car, hector your dogs and cats, and knock all the nuts and fruit out of your trees way before they were ripe (and then take one bite…)  NO MORE! Get revenge on these fuzzy fiends (at least in your imagination) by putting them on your walls.  Let’s face it – sometimes even the most sensitive animal lover will want this on their walls.  For one thing, they are just so darned cute! patti squirrels

Crocheted squirrel heads mounted on tiny wooden plaques by Patti Haskins.  Soon to be available at Makers Connect.  Squeeeee!

Classes are great! Take a look…

succulents on table succulent mine 2my succulent




Yesterday Jordan led us through making paper succulents and roses.  We were all pretty impressed with our results, and are all busy figuring out our ‘shortcuts’ for the next time we have to cut 40 plus pieces of paper out!

Jordan teacherThe neat thing too is that you’re not restricted to the standard greens, browns, etc. of the ‘real dea.’  If you like purple and blue, or green and orange succulents, we all felt pretty much encouraged to go for it!

We all loved this aeonium in blues done by Audrey.  Jordan on the left.

We hope to offer this class again so keep an eye on the schedule for news.

succulent class



Did you see our new Section…Trunk Shows & Events?!

Trunk Shows and Events:

giving daySept 18 is North Texas Giving Day.  However, we already decided last month to dedicate 5% of our profits to a different charity each month.  August sales resulted in a gift to Doctors without Borders, who are working tirelessly to stem the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

reverse food truckThis months’ donation will go to the Reverse Food Truck, a new concept run out of the Northpark Presbyterian Church, which collects food for the needy, instead of serving it to those of us who might, um, have had enough already.


Saturday, Sept. 20:  Freda Ross – Showcasing her bright and joyous beaded creations here at MC on Saturday from 11- 3ish.  Check out her work and get some ideas before you arrive to get excited!  This girls’ got the beads.

wrapped quartz???????????????????????????????






one pinwheelSunday, Sept. 21:  International Day of Peace.  Makers is celebrating by “Imagining Whirled Peace!”, a collaborative art exhibit consisting of many many handmade pinwheels placed along Northwest Highway near the store.



Saturday, November 22:  Patti Haskins and Syd Justice (Maria Donaldson).  Crochet and sewn critters meets mixed metals in a glorious day.

syd brac3patty dogls syd bronzepatty squirrel




From Patrons and Vendors to Good Friends…

One of the unexpectedly cool things that has happened in the last four months (almost five!) of being open has been the relationships we’ve made with so many of our wonderful customers, students, and new vendors.  Sure, we knew a good number of the vendors going into this Great Experiment, and we’re happy to say that most of them still talk to us!  But through a moment of reflection yesterday, I realized just how many new ones we’ve welcomed, and how important these folks who have walked through the doors have become to us.



So I just wanted to send a shout out to these lovely warm folks who’ve supported us.  They are, in no particular order and with apologies to any misspellings or missed individuals:

Pamela, Reid, the four Kimberlys, Dyanne, Mary, Tanya, three Jaimes, Susie, Shelley, Tami, Kevin, Quinn and Matthew, Lisle, Stephanie, Sarah, the Judys, Cynthia, Sam, Raul, Bruce, Caleb, Lillian, Patti, Mike, Lisa, Tina, Tricia, Thomas, Gina, Andrea and Troy, Robin, two Kelleys, Alicia, Maria, Susan, Traci, Linda, Dianna, Lottie, Jordan, Audrey, Sherri, and so many more….the list will continue to grow – and that’s what’s awesome.

What’s so nice is that in addition to checking on their own inventory, most of our vendors are truly friends in the sense that they support us emotionally.  Even though they are all busy with their lives, (most of them have fulltime jobs plus the incredible crafts work that they do) they are kind enough to stop in and brighten our days.  Sometimes we complain about being stuck in a fish bowl as it were, without the ability to leave or do the errands we’d like to do… so it’s a treat to have the world brought in to us!  We miss seeing the vendors at shows (although we’re fond of repeating that we do NOT miss the set ups, the heat, nor the standing around on concrete blacktops for hours on end) so we get the update on all the show news when they pay these kind visits.  Sometiems it’s like living in a tiny village.  We’re all connected and know one another it seems.  So I guess that’s why I still feel that our name has meaning…Makers Connect.

That’s what makers do.  With each other and with the world…through our handmade goods and with our love.  Rock on, all you wonderful people!  We love you.

bright stones


New Artists, New Happenings Coming up for Fall!

window paper pinwheel display interior store

Outside Window                                                        Inside, Class area

**Important note: We will be closed Friday the 15th**  Back on Saturday the 16th!

Have you seen our new window display…for summer?  Only a tiny bit late, but it’s a welcome sight nonetheless.  Soon enough we’ll be trimming the tree and hanging the mistletoe.  But for now, we’re enjoying the bright pinwheels made from artisanal papers.

The last few weeks have been a whirl – between having a very succuessful ‘thank you’ sale for our neighbors (and everyone else who wandered in!) and meeting a bunch of new artists.  We’ve also accepted a number of them into our shop, and will be sharing their work in coming posts.  Here is one: Lacquer boxes by Susan de la Cerda:

Boxes by Susan de la Cerda

We also welcomed Frida of Frida’s Fancy’s colorful wrap rings, Peggy Schmitz’s elegant statement bracelets, Linda Rolen’s yard art and upcycled table top pieces; Traci Hutton’s adorable soft dolls and zipper pins, plus aprons, oven mitts and towels by the team of Susan and Nancy of Out of our Mind.  Also Samantha Abedin’s beautiful throw pillows, dog beds and Big Boy Bones, and Dammit Dolls; Rosemarie Zartman’s wildly colorful necklaces, Carmen Aberasturi’s clay and glass bird dishes, and will soon be adding Maria of Syd Justice Jewelry  to our mix as well.  Did we forget to mention hand beaded bracelets by Kimberley Moore and Kimberley Brown?!


Meanwhile, classes!!  This little votive beauty was gold leafed by a student in Saturday’s glass class.  We also did some terrific Mercury silvered votives.  Amazing how well that process worked, but I recommend doing it outside as the fumes are quite bedazzling to the brain cells.

student candle 2student candle gold


Let’s not overdo Local.

Hi there!  I just wanted to say that I really believe in the Local movement.   *But!*


I also know the Local Movement is not brand spanky new anymore. It’s been growing and expanding; and that’s good.  But there’s also a tendency sometimes to get a bit toooooo much of a good thing.  To feel like one is being… manipulated somehow….by a trend in the world.  What I see is that yes, the word Local is being used.  A lot. And I actually had this conversation with several intelligent people last week. They too are getting a tad bit tired of the admonishment to shop local.  They get it, but maybe they are tired of feeling like it’s a trendy thing to do.  They just want to do it because they believe it’s the right thing to do for our economy, our kids, and ultimately our planet.

keep it local

But I’ve been a little discouraged by larger companies kind of glomming onto the word and use it for their marketing, even when said products are not exactly being made in the States.  (or even in the NAFTA countries!)  This is where I become cynical about the word, and ever more vigilant to protect both its meaning for me and for the customers.

Because the *last* thing I would want is for folks to just give up shopping locally, either out of ennui or cynicism, and go back to finding their gifts on the shelves of…. well, pick your store.  Pretty much anywhere.


Luscious Colors; Unexpected forms! Rick Van Dyke

rick snake planter

Funky, crunchy, richly colored,… anthropomorphic, deeply organic, one of a kind… Do these qualities move you in a work of art?

If so they you too might be a convert to the works of Austin potter Rick Van Dyke.

We are so lucky to be the only shop in Dallas showcasing his work!  And as such, we offer a healthy sized collection – ranging from his pinch pot and coiled edges and extravagant rolled-in textures to the skeletons, bugs, and other critters that move quietly beneath the fabric of our lives.  Colors range from dark evergreens to light celadons, and rich matte aquamarine blue to cornflower.  His newest colors are beautiful garnet reds with blue peeking through at the edges.  Really have to see to appreciate.

Rick’s background interests in paleontology, reptiles, entymology, and the rearing of succulents and cacti really came together well in his ceramic work.  You can see how he’s used the textures and colors of the oceans; from ancient corals to the crests of waves and the colors of the clearest shores.  Please come in and take a look.

We’re open 11 am until 7:00, Tuesday through Saturday.  Check our classes page for info about our upcoming workshops!


Local Dallas Artists are Stacking up at Makers Connect

all-at-once-jeff-barrett “All at Once” Jeff Barrett

More local Dallas artists…. 

More of the fascinating faces that have come to grace our space at Makers Connect.

Please join us in welcoming the work of Jeff Barrett, Andrea Smith, Elaine Glasscock, Rachel Cabal, Kelley Vaughan, Susan Morgan, Lottie Minick, Audrey Legatowicz, Kimberley Moore, and Martha Mabry!!  More to come this week too…

Jeff Barrett – “Happy Time”



Local / New Artists in house at Makers Connect

Local.  East Dallas.  Artisans.  Crafters.  That is the core of how we started, so why aren’t we celebrating the artists more?  Looking back at some posts on this site we realized we needed to do a better job!  So here goes.

It has been too long we’ve been concentrating on classes but in the interim, some very interesting artists have been knocking on our doors and quietly sneaking into our sphere – the result is that MakCon is slowing morphing from a sweet fuzzy duckling into a full blown, gorgeous Goose!

Check out a few of our new faces and help us to welcome the work of Jeff Barrett, Andrea Smith, Elaine Glasscock, Rachel Cabal, Kelley Vaughan, Susan Morgan, Lottie Minick, Audrey Legatowicz, Kimberley Moore, and Martha Mabry!!  A few now, a few in the next post.

Ceramic round crpped  Kelley Vaughan of Blue Flame Studio

Susan Morgan quiltsSusan Morgan’s Crib Quilts

Lottie Minik three hearts Lottie Minick’s Steel Hearts

Welcome them all by coming by and seeing them for yourself!

Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11: 00 – 7:00.





Social Media for Artists…what does it Mean?

Crafting is usually fun, relaxing, and stimulating for many people, including me.  So the classes we like to offer here are pretty fun but also mentally on the light side – not meant to make you have to scratch  your head too hard.  However we do have one class that I’ve been sitting in on that is quite challenging, called Social Media for Small Business.  I don’t think any of us were prepared for the bredth of knowledge Tina Winslow has brought to our humble table, but all of us class participants agree that we are pretty luck to have her.

Tina selfie

In discussing our individual online presences, we’re all realizing we’ve been like babes in the woods;  she has us thinking about so many things we’d either undervalued or just plain overlooked.   For some of us, the online ‘places’ we are spending the majority of our time is quite simply upside down.  Instead of ‘facebooking it up’ all the time, for instance, I should be spending more time on my blog.  The blog ‘feeds’ the rest of the system.  Having said that, it’s important to be present in as many online locales as is humanely possible; with a large chunk of attention being paid first to the blog and then to Google +.  (when you take the class, she’ll explain why… I will probably botch any explanation I attempt).

Tonight our goal is to take a closer look at our target market.  This is a much more slippery task than first anticipated; in fact I am constantly surprised by who is following my posts or who makes the great leap across the six lane highway to come and check out our store based often on little more than curiousity about our pretty, colorful signage!  So as I write this, I am avoiding doing my homework for tonight.  I’m a baaaaaad student.  Wait, not that bad… at least I’m contributing to the blog!

I hope if you’ve read this far you are thinking “wow, I’m an artist with a great product but really wish I knew more about how to reach my target audience.  I wish I could talk to someone who really knows what to do and lead me in a solid direction.”   Good news;  Tina has agreed to run this course again in the near future.  So if you send a quick message to Chris at makersconnect@gmail.com, I would be glad to add you to a list and let you know as soon as these dates are figured out.

Honestly, the way I see it….If she can help me… she can help anyone!   And by the way, this is me.  I have to wear blouses featuring Korean Good Luck Kittens just to get through the day….

Chris in Judy shirt in store

This is me after trying to understand the inner workings of the internet without help from Tina:

ozzy the man

<style>.ig-b- { display: inline-block; }
.ig-b- img { visibility: hidden; }
.ig-b-:hover { background-position: 0 -60px; } .ig-b-:active { background-position: 0 -120px; }
.ig-b-48 { width: 48px; height: 48px; background: url(//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-sprite-48.png) no-repeat 0 0; }
@media only screen and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min–moz-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2 / 1), only screen and (min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), only screen and (min-resolution: 192dpi), only screen and (min-resolution: 2dppx) {
.ig-b-48 { background-image: url(//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-sprite-48@2x.png); background-size: 60px 178px; } }</style>
<a href=”http://instagram.com/chris_makers_connect?ref=badge&#8221; class=”ig-b- ig-b-48″><img src=”//badges.instagram.com/static/images/ig-badge-48.png” alt=”Instagram” /></a>

Lake Highlands Advocate recognized our Class Series!



 Thank you, Lake Highlands Advocate!